If a Member has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that another Member has contravened the Act, the member can request the Commissioner’s opinion under section 29 of the Act. The request must be in writing setting out the nature of the contravention alleged and the grounds for the belief.
It is a serious matter to allege that a Member has contravened the Act; mere suspicion or innuendo is insufficient. A Member should carefully consider the grounds for the request and prepare a thorough and complete submission clearly setting out the basis for the allegations, with as much supporting evidence as possible. As a matter of courtesy and fairness, the Member should refrain from commenting publicly on the matter until the Member involved has been informed about the allegations.
A Member making an allegation must provide the Member who is the subject of the request with a copy of the allegation. The Member will have an opportunity to respond and submit evidence, and may be represented by legal counsel. Depending on the nature of the allegations, the Commissioner may interview the Member and other witnesses under oath, and may request documents. The Commissioner has the authority to subpoena witnesses and compel the production of documents if any party is uncooperative.
After reviewing all the relevant information, the Commissioner will issue a written Opinion, and will table that Opinion with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The Commissioner’s Opinion is final. There is no appeal procedure if the complainant or the subject disagree with the Commissioner’s conclusions. If the Commissioner finds that a Member has contravened the Act, the Commissioner can recommend a penalty to be imposed by the Legislative Assembly.
The Commissioner may also receive a request for an opinion with respect to compliance with the Act from the Legislative Assembly by resolution or the President of Executive Council (Premier) respecting compliance by a Minister.